Goodman Pianist & Vocalist Buddy Greco Passes

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Buddy Greco, the Philadelphia-born pianist and vocalist that at one time performed with the Benny Goodman Orchestra, has died at his Las Vegas home. He was 90.

Greco, who initially made his mark with a hit recording of “The Lady Is a Tramp,” toured and recorded with famed bandleader Benny Goodman, performed on dozens of TV variety shows and was a popular act at The Desert Inn in Las Vegas.

During his career which spanned more than 50 years, Buddy Greco was both an arranger and musician who recorded more than 60 albums. A Las Vegas mainstay in the 1960’s, Greco often performed with Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Rosemary Clooney, and ‘Rat Packers’ Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Junior.

Born in Philadelphia, Greco, whose father was a newspaper writer and opera critic, began singing at the age of four on the radio and learned to play piano at age six. In the mid-1940’s, he signed with the Musicraft record label and had his first hit with “Ooh! Look-a There, Ain’t She Pretty.” Greco’s other notable songs included “Around the World,” “MacArthur Park,” “The More I See You,” and “Girl Talk,”

Following his early solo success, Greco signed with the famous Benny Goodman Orchestra, and traveled with Goodman for several years. In 1962, Greco recorded an upbeat rendition of Rodgers & Hart’s “The Lady Is a Tramp,” which became his so-called ‘signature tune’. Following the success of ‘Tramp’, a year later Greco appeared at The Royal Variety Performance for the Queen on the same bill as Marlene Dietrich.

Survivors include his wife, singer Lezlie Anders. Greco and Anders performed together for years, most recently on stage in the show “Fever! The Music of Miss Peggy Lee.”

Greco met Anders at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, where she was a lounge singer. The couple married in 1995. A decade later they opened “Buddy Greco’s Fine Dinner Club” in Cathedral City, California, outside of Palm Springs. The club was closed in 2010 as Buddy began to suffer from ill health.

In November of 2016, a frail Greco appeared at his induction into the Las Vegas Entertainment Hall of Fame.